The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday that they are moving the statue of former owner Jerry Richardson "in the interest of public safety."
The 13-foot statue, which resided outside Bank of America Stadium, was given to Richardson on his 80th birthday in 2016.
Richardson was the founding owner of the franchise, which began play in 1995, but he abruptly put the team up for sell in disgrace after allegations of racial and sexual misconduct in the workplace made against Richardson came to light in Dec. 2017.
"We were aware of the most recent conversation surrounding the Jerry Richardson statue and are concerned there may be attempts to take it down," the Panthers said in a statement posted on Twitter. "We are moving the statue in the interest of public safety."
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that while the Richardson statue stood on Charlotte city property, it was the team's decision to remove it from its current location. Pelissero added it is being moved to an undisclosed off-site location.
David Tepper purchased the Panthers for $2.275 billion in May 2018 and said he was "contractually obligated" to keep the statue where it stood near Bank of America Stadium's north gate, per the Charlotte Observer. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined Richardson $2.75 million in June 2018 after an investigation by the league found evidence that substantiated claims of workplace misconduct.
The Panthers' decision to move the statue comes at a time when many cities across the country are choosing to remove controversial statues following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.